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Game 65 Preview: Ottawa Senators @ Dallas Stars

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Your preview of tonight’s (8:30pm EST) game against the Dallas Stars!

Ottawa Senators v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Sens enter Dallas for the last matchup of a four game road trip that’s seen them beat Vegas, but lose to Washington and Arizona. The Stars are currently in the first wild card spot in the West, with Colorado, St. Louis, and Los Angeles within four points.

Here’s how we expect the Senators to line-up, with everyone looking healthy except Chris Wideman (who’s trying to get some games in this season!):

Hoffman - Duchene - Paajarvi
Ryan - Pageau - Stone
Dzingel - O’Brien - Pyatt
Gaborik - Smith - Burrows

Claesson - Karlsson
Harpur - Ceci
Borowiecki - Chabot
McCormick, Burgdoefer (extras)

Anderson (starter)
Condon

Meanwhile, the Stars have three key injuries — forwards Radek Faksa and Martin Hanzal, in addition to defenceman Esa Lindell. Finn Roope Hintz has been recalled for his first ever NHL action, so expect him to get a goal tonight:

Benn - Seguin - Ritchie
Shore - Janmark - Radulov
Roussel - Spezza - Pitlick
Smith - Dickinson - Elie

Methot - Klingberg
Hamhuis - Pateryn
Johns - Honka
Bishop (starter)
Lehtonen

Some other notes for today:

  • Guy Boucher noted in his pre-game availability that the team has only really have one line producing all season. Recently, it’s either the Hoffman - Duchene - XXXX combination, or Ryan - Pageau - Stone. Good for Pageau getting some offensive minutes, as he’s been saddled with the Pyatt’s of the world for far too long.
  • Ken Hitchcock, in his first year coaching the Stars, had some praise for Guy Boucher’s game plan against Vegas: “A lot of us could have learned a lot of lessons from the way [the Senators] played against Vegas,” Hitchcock said. “That looked like a game plan a lot of people could follow if they’re going to beat Vegas. They played really well against them. If that is the game we are going to get, that’s going to be a tough game for us.” Hired primarily to fix the Stars defensive issues, the team has gotten capable goaltending from Ben Bishop and have allowed the third fewest goals (171) in the Western Conference. Ottawa has allowed 225.
  • To his credit, Hitchcock’s heat maps look fantastic, especially when you compare this year to last years. The Stars’ special teams, especially their powerplay, looks fantastic.
  • Much of the discussion tonight is going to centre around two ex-Sens. Marc Methot is paired with likely-Norris winner John Klingberg. He’s been kept to only 24 games this season as he’s battled injuries, and if he was still on the Senators, we’d likely be worried about how his body would hold up given his back and hip ailments over the years. He’s one of Dallas’ worst players when it comes to winning the shot share as well.
  • Klingberg paces all defencemen with 55 points and a 0.85 PPG. Erik Karlsson in his I-don’t-know-if-he’s-the-same-player down year sits 8 points back — seventh among defencemen.
  • The other ex-Sen? Former captain Jason Spezza, who’s starting to slow down a bit. He’s been healthy, suiting up for 64 games, but has only amassed 24 points — down from 50 in 68 games last year. Oft-criticized Bobby Ryan has 26 points (in 44 games) while Ryan Dzingel has 28 (in 62 games).
  • Keep your eye on 2014 first round pick Julius Honka. A right-shot, the 22-year-old has only played 30 games this season and has been in and out of the lineup. If I was an NHL team, I’d be trying to buy low on a player who’s ultra talented, but likely stuck in Hitchcock’s doghouse. Hey, Dorion!

Your team and player stats, via NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick:

Team Stats

Category Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Category Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
-- Value Rank Value Rank
Goals/GP 2.68 25th 3.25 6th
Goals against/GP 3.44 30th 2.56 3rd
Shots/GP 30.7 24th 32.8 11th
Shots against/GP 33.0 25th 29.3 2nd
Powerplay % 16.7 26th 23.5 4th
Penalty Kill % 76.2 27th 83.3 4th
Corsi (5v5, Score & Venue Adjusted) 46.32 29th 53.97 2nd
Fenwick (5v5, SVA) 46.94 27th 54.01 1st

Player Stats

Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
Ottawa Senators Boston Bruins
-- Player # Player #
Goals Matt Duchene 27 Brad Marchand 34
Assists Erik Karlsson (out) 53 Brad Marchand 51
Points Karlsson/Stone (both out) 62 Brad Marchand 85
Shots Mike Hoffman 253 David Pastrnak 236
TOI/GP Erik Karlsson (out) 26:44 Zdeno Chara 22:53